Licence to make in Mumbai’s Masjid Bunder or the Cacophony in Cairo
Imagine an oriental scene. A chaotic street in Masjid Bunder, Mumbai or its counter-part in Cairo, Egypt could drive the people all around crazy. The pedestrians, the
hawkers peddling their wares on the streets, the shopkeepers trying to attract the attention of the passers-by and solicit their entry into their shops. As if the humans on the loose (on the roads, on the pavements and outside the shops) were not enough, there are others too. These humans are actually locked inside the vehicles they are in. Self-driving owners can’t even get out and walk out. Prisoners (in the slow moving traffic) of everyone’s making.
Driver or Prisoner
Humans have learnt to doone thing well. When pushed to the wall, fight back. Unfortunately, for everyone on this market road, and the prisoners behind the driving wheel, the fight back boils down to blaring their horn. Throw in a few dozen stray cats, dogs, cows and maybe a few goats (meant for Sacrifice) and you have the perfect setting for cacophony.
Can this be avoided? Yes. Driverless cars could help provide the answer. How?
Car in Cairo, Driverless in Khan el-Khalili
Imagine only driverless cars ply these busy streets. They will interact with each other in silence, weave their way in and out of traffic. They could also double up as the administration’s eyes and ears. The cameras on the cars could also be scanning the landscape, not just helping navigate. Take pavement vendors for instance, who would need to be wearing officially provided RFID labels/ tags to ply their trade. These cameras can continuously scan and share information with a city level Police repository. This can also enable real time checking with a database. (All driverless vehicles have to enable this social service…. the scan and share feature)
Any vendor without a proper/authenticated tag can be hauled up. This mechanism (scanning the landscape and sharing) can also help reduce/ track/ prevent/ combat crime. How so? A significant percentage of underworld activities leverage the inherent camouflage these crowded pockets offer in a city.
At a larger level, these cars could also be silent wardens in a city scape, continuously sharing data on the various lanes and bye-lanes.
The points mentioned in the para above are obviously fringe benefits. Co-ordinated driving and less noise/cacophony is an immediate benefit. If these cars also come with roofs made of/ embossed with solar panels ,then most remaining nay sayers would start saying ‘aye’, or is it ‘AI’ ?
Continued in Part 3